Siloam Springs, Ark (January 15, 2003) - KUOA AM 1290 welcomes award-winning morning show host Pete Fretwell to anchor its news-talk format, “American Family Values.” Fretwell brings more than 17 years of experience as a talk radio host, reporter and interviewer to KUOA’s “Northwest Arkansas Live in the Morning,” weekdays from 7 - 9 a.m.
“Pete has many years of talk radio experience, which is exactly what KUOA needed,” said Station Manager Sean Sawatzky. “We’re incredibly excited to have him on staff. He has the talent and experience to create the best talk morning show in northwest Arkansas.”
Prior to joining the KUOA staff on Dec. 9, 2002, Fretwell hosted morning shows for News-Talk KXLY in Spokane, Wash., and KBBC/KRSE-FM in Yakima, Wash.
Fretwell’s radio career has earned him national honors, including recognition by Media Awards for Economic Understanding, sponsored by Champion International and administered by Amos Tuck School of Business Administration at Dartmouth College; the Janus Award for Financial Reporting from American Mortgage Bankers Association; and the Armstrong Award (a broadcast team award) for reporting on "Firestorm '91" in Spokane, Wash.
Most recently, Fretwell served five years as director of communications for an in-state trade association representing agriculture in Washington. Fretwell says he knows what it’s like to be on both sides of the interview.
“I recognize my responsibility to be fair, open minded, and let the other side tell their story,” Fretwell said. “What I like about talk radio is that it tends to be more fair because it allows your guest - in their own words, unedited, in real time - to tell their story.”
The decision to relocate to northwest Arkansas was the result of natural curiosity, said Fretwell. He said he and his wife, Becky, were eager to live in an area that is culturally diverse and get to know the community on a one-on-one level. He describes his on-air style as “curiosity on the fly.”
“I wake up every morning curious about the people I’m going to meet, what’s in the news and what’s not, and why,” he said. “I want to engage in examining the news and its relevance to northwest Arkansas.”
Fretwell believes talk radio can assist northwest Arkansas in bridging historical divides on issues such as economics and education.
“Bridging those gaps, understanding common goals, is something talk radio can do,” he said, “Radio is the only medium I know that can bring people together in a town-hall format.”
Fretwell packs KUOA’s two-hour morning show with national, state and local news, often including real-time interviews with legislators, business owners and local experts.
“Pete spends a lot of time preparing for the next show,” Sawatzky said, “gathering news from the internet, always seeking a northwest Arkansas perspective on the news and its impact on our area.”
Fretwell outlined three angles from which talk radio can have an impact in northwest Arkansas. First, KUOA’s talk format is best suited for promoting JBU’s mission and goals from a faith-based perspective. Its emphasis on American family values stems from KUOA’s early years as the mouthpiece for JBU founder and evangelist John. E. Brown Sr., beginning in the 1930’s.
Second, he said, talk radio affords an opportunity for experts in both academic and professional fields to share their views on current affairs and examine issues extensively and personally.
“John Brown Sr., the founder of JBU, understood the potential for radio long before others in the country,” Fretwell said, “Experts on current issues can have a nationwide impact as he did.”
The third benefit is the opportunity for the listener to interact. “Calling in and requesting a song isn’t really interactive,” Fretwell said. “A talk format allows the listener who calls in to have as much weight in the dialogue as the host or the congressman.”
In addition to his morning responsibilities, Fretwell also serves as the station’s assistant manager, scheduling announcers, working with sales, and overall programming. “He’s quickly becoming my right-hand man,” Sawatzky said.
For all his efforts, Fretwell said it’s hard to call his new post “work.”
“Radio beats working for a living,” he said, “I’m absolutely back in my element. Diverse culture is fascinating, not frustrating.”
KUOA is the oldest licensed radio station in the state of Arkansas and is owned by John Brown University in Siloam Springs. Its talk-radio format, “American Family Values,” features daily syndicated broadcasters, including Fox News’ Sean Hannity, Dr. Laura Schlessinger, and Dr. James Dobson’s Focus on the Family. John Brown University is a private university with an enrollment of more than 1,700 students from 42 states and 45 countries. JBU is a member of Arkansas’ Independent Colleges and Universities and the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities.